Films: A Screaming Man

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A Screaming Man  {Un homme qui crie}

A Screaming Man
Un homme qui crie

France, 2010, 92 Minute Running Time
Additional Countries: Belgium, Chad
Genre/Subjects: African-American, Family Issues, Political, Social Issues
Program: Contemporary World Cinema
Language: French English Subtitles

DIRECTOR: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Editor: Marie-Helene Dozo
Screenwriter: Mahamat-Saleh Haroun
Cinematographer: Laurent Brunet
Principal Cast: Youssouf Djaoro, Diouc Koma, Emil Abossolo M'Bo, Hadje Fatime Ngoua, Marius Yelolo

In present-day Chad, a good-natured rivalry between a former swimming champion and his son turns dark when 50-something Adam, a former swimming medalist still known as Champ, is forced to cede his job as a hotel pool attendant to his son, Abdel. The move is a cost-cutting measure by the new Chinese owners of the hotel, but the cost is high for father and son. The abrupt change in status causes friction between them, disrupts their home life and robs Adam of his friendships and his identity. Humiliated by the demotion and pining for the relative glamor of the poolside and its reminders of past laurels, he turns inward, growing increasingly silent and resentful.

Constantly in the background is low-level TV chatter about the country’s 30 years of on-again, off-again civil war, a fact of life people mostly take in stride. But it looms large when Adam, who has long been pressured to support the government’s war efforts, decides to contribute in a way that will solve his problems as well: he gives Abdel up to the army—even though it means his son faces almost certain death. When Abdel’s pregnant girlfriend comes to live with Adam and his wife, Mariam, she brings with her a sweet mournfulness that softens Adam’s heart, though it is too late for the family to reclaim the happiness it once enjoyed.

Quietly powerful, A Screaming Man won the Jury Prize for Chadian expat director Mahamat-Saleh Haroun at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival—the first film from sub-Saharan Africa to be honored with one of the festival’s top awards in 13 years.
—Val Moses

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